Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ex Machina series (Book 1-5, #1-50)

In a first, I review a non-Marvel comic book series! In this case, it's "Ex Machina", written by Brian K. Vaughan (creator of the "Y: The Last Man" comic book, as well as a writer for the TV show "Lost") for Wildstorm Comics (a subsidiary of DC Comics).

A man named Mitchell Hundred mysteriously gains superpowers (to control all machines with his voice) and ends up as Mayor of New York City after saving one of the twin towers during the 9/11
attacks of 2001. The series mostly concentrates on his political career, but frequently flashbacks to his "superhero" past as well. Interestingly, for a while he's the only superpowered human on the planet, until others begin to show up with similar powers (but concentrated on other things, like nature). It's interesting for a while, but begins to fizzle out in the latter half of the series, especially with the "parallel universes" storylines, which should be interesting but isn't quite (although there's an amusing sequence where one man reveals "Reagan's son" is President in his world, not "Dubya". I guess he's referring to Michael Reagan, since Ron Jr. was never popular with his dad or the GOP).

The constant "is he or isn't he gay" subplot of the series is never really resolved either, which I find odd since in the series he legalizes gay marriage in NYC 9 years before "our world" and has an openly gay deputy mayor, among other things. Not a big deal, but it almost seems
like the gay subplot exists just to suck in the "alternative comic" crowd.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills

A deviation from the "What If" reviews, but seeing as how most of Vol. 2 has not been assembled into TPB form, I'm going to hold off on reviewing that series for a moment until I figure out an organized way of doing so. Anyway, this was originally published in graphic novel version (not regular comic book form) under the "Marvel Graphic Novel" series that ran between 1982-1993. This, in particular, is novel #5. It's considered a classic among many 80s X-Men fans, but IMO it has not aged so well over time. It definitely covers the "social" aspect of the series well (dealing with discrimination/racism/etc) but the villain comes off as a bit over the top - especially when it comes to his origins. X-Men regular Chris Claremont wrote this during the rise of the American "moral majority" era (1982), to provide some context to the story. The art is questionable, but that's because the original artist had to quit shortly after he began work on the comic due to contractual obligations, and his replacement was less than capable, it appears.

I know lots of X-fanboys cite this story as one of their top 20 or so X-Men plots, but to me it's a bit overwrought. C

(Parts of this comic [and the main villain] were used in the plotline to the movie sequel of "X-Men" called "X2", but quite a few details were changed due to chronological issues within the movie storyline.)